On the football field last season, South Carolina finished with a best-ever ranking of No. 4 in the country. Off the field this summer, the Gamecocks have reached an all-time high in the recruiting rankings.
After landing two more commitments last week, the Gamecocks moved to No. 2 in the Rivals.com national rankings, trailing only Alabama. Clemson, by the way, currently is ranked fourth.
And Rivals is not including defensive end Dante Sawyer among USC commitments, though he remains committed while working on his grades in junior college. Should the Gamecocks not slip from now until Signing Day, they will have recruited their highest rated class in history. Their 2007 group was ranked fourth by ESPN.
South Carolina's two commitments last week - DB Damon Arnette of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and RB AJ Turner of Centreville, Va. - give the Gamecocks 22 commitments for the 2015 class, 11 on offense and 11 on defense.
Arnette picked the Gamecocks over Ohio State and Kentucky.
"I'm looking for early playing time as a freshman," Arnette said. "I'm going to be the biggest corner they have, and they think they can develop me into a great corner. I can be another one like Stephon Gilmore."
Turner had narrowed his list to a final five of USC, Clemson, Virginia, Ohio State and Michigan State.
Last season, Turner rushed for 1,258 yards and 31 TDs. He's the Gamecocks' first running back commitment.
In other recruiting news:
OL Zack Bailey of Summerville has a top three, in no order, of USC, Clemson and Georgia. He has been to USC and Clemson and will visit Georgia later this summer. He will make his decision before the season.
ATH Cody Montgomery (6-4, 195) of Lewisville has drawn strong interest from Harvard, Yale, Citadel, Charleston Southern and Gardner-Webb according to his coach William Mitchell. USC, Clemson and N.C. State also checked in on him in the spring. Furman also has shown interest in Montgomery, who plays QB and outside linebacker.
RB Ty'son Williams of Crestwood said last week he's down to a final four of USC, Georgia, Notre Dame and North Carolina. Wisconsin had also been on his list. He does not have a favorite among the remaining four. Williams has visited USC and plans to visit Georgia. He has not visited Notre Dame or North Carolina.
"After that (visit to Georgia), I'm going to shut it down and go ahead and make my decision," Williams said.
Williams is one of several running backs the Gamecocks have been recruiting and was aware of Turner's commitment. But he said that won't affect his thinking about USC as long as it doesn't affect their feelings about him.
"If they still recruit me, I still might want to go there if that's who I like," Williams said. "It doesn't matter who's coming. I'm going to go down there and compete."
OL Stephen Haralambis of Chapin is being recruited as a center. He also plays defensive tackle and had 87 tackles and 4 sacks last season. He camped at Wofford, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. He also has visited Appalachian and will visit Georgia Southern on Friday. He also plans to visit Wofford and Coastal Carolina.
RB Jordan Scarlett of Fort Lauderdale announced last week a commitment to Miami over USC. Scarlett had been committed to Florida Atlantic since last December. The Gamecocks made a strong recruiting run at Scarlett but he never made a visit.
RB/WR RayRay McCloud of Tampa will announce his decision on July 28. Clemson is one of the main contenders along with Florida, Florida State, Miami, UCLA and Maryland.
USC commitment LB Sherrod Pittman of Jacksonville, Fla., told 247Sports he will take an official visit this fall to Southern Cal along with teammate Tristan Payton, a receiver who is committed to Florida. Pittman has been committed to USC since July of last year and has always maintained a strong allegiance to the Gamecocks.
DL Tim Settle of Manassas, Va., plans to start his recruiting over on Sept 1. He added that Clemson, Penn State and Tennessee have been reaching out to him the most.
DL DJ Jones of East Mississippi JC plans to announce his college decision Dec. 13. His current top 10, in order, is Tennessee, Alabama, Clemson, USC, Auburn, Southern Cal, Florida State, Mississippi, Florida and Georgia. The Vols do remain the leader for now. Jones plans to have a final five by the start of his season.
Tennessee, LSU and Clemson are the top three in order for DE Rasool Clemons (6-6, 200) of South Aiken. Clemons will visit Tennessee soon and plans to visit Clemson sometime after he returns from Knoxville. Clemons had lost contact with Clemson but said that the Tigers have recently reopened the lines of communication.
"They told me they thought I was going to commit to LSU, so I kind of fell off their radar," Clemons said.
His offers include Clemson, LSU, Virginia, Florida State, Kentucky and Tennessee. His trip to Clemson will be his second visit to the Upstate school.
Five-star DE Byron Cowart of Seffner, Fla., cited Clemson, Oregon, LSU and Florida as schools standing out to him right now.
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